SOCHI, Russia, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- German energy company Wintershall said Friday it took on a stake in the company tasked with building the offshore section of the South Stream gas pipeline.
Wintershall joins Italian energy company ENI, French major EDF and Russia's Gazprom in the South Stream natural gas pipeline consortium with a 15 percent stake.
Rainer Seele, chairman of the board of directors of Wintershall, joined consortium members at an investment conference in Sochi, Russia, to tout the benefits of South Stream for Europe.
"In the global race against Asian countries for raw materials, South Stream, like Nord Stream, will ensure access to energy resources which are vital to our economy," he said in a statement.
Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller met with ENI CEO Paolo Scaroni in Moscow last week to discuss bringing EDF and Wintershall in as shareholders for the joint venture.
The South Stream pipeline would split with arteries headed to Greece and the Balkans after passing through the Turkish waters of the Black Sea. It would carry roughly 2.2 trillion cubic feet of gas per year when it goes into service by 2015.
Gazprom announced recently it filled the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany with so-called buffer gas. Nord Stream is viewed as a northern European counterpart to South Stream. Wintershall is also a member of the Nord Stream consortium.